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Debussy: Préludes, Books 1 & 2 / Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano

Album Summary

>Debussy, Claude : Préludes (12) for piano, Book I, L. 117
>Debussy, Claude : Préludes (12) for piano, Book II, L. 123
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Pierre-Laurent Aimard's profound affinity for the music of Claude Debussy is revealed again on this 2-CD album.

Celebrating the pioneering French composer's 150th birthday.

Featured are Aimard's stellar interpretations of the complete cycle of both books of Preludes.

Includes digital exclusive track the very popular track Clair de lune.

Airmard supports the release of this CD with Debussy recitals in many major markets.

BBC Music Magazine, December 2012
This is remarkable pianism. However, Aimard appears to be treating the Preludes as absolute music, with only intermittent sense of the visual. That works fine in some of the pieces but this sober reading conveys too little of Debussy's humour and passion...If this all seems rather negative, then make no mistake, this is still a strong set of the Preludes.

Financial Times, September 2012
Aimard stresses clarity of thought and timbre, as well as seriousness and fidelity, in all he does. You might think such qualities...were less important in Debussy's PrTludes, which put a premium on sensitivity, imagination and range of colour...But Aimard is no slouch in those departments either...Aimard challenges us to listen rather than dream.

The Guardian, August 2012
As you'd expect, Aimard's accounts of the 24 pieces are technically impeccable, whether articulating every rhythmic detail in La Danse de Puck, or perfectly layering the chordal accumulations of La CathTdrale Engloutie, but there is something matter of fact about it all.

The Times, August 2012
A clean if rather dispassionate account of Debussy's complete piano Preludes. Aimard was recorded playing his own Steinway: a cosy arrangement that may explain his devotion to the instrument's reverberations. The resonances lend a special aura to Debussy's more processional pieces.

As with his previous solo Debussy CD (the Images and Etudes) Pierre-Laurent Aimard's Préludes contain both incandescent and matter-of-fact performances. In Book 1 he maintains the pianissimo marking of Voiles' B-flat bass pedal point with remarkable consistency, providing a gentle anchor for the drifting whole-tone chords elsewhere. On the other hand, the lilting deliberation Aimard brings to La sérénade interrompue and Minstrels truly convinces, while Ce qu'a vu le vent d'ouest's Lisztian sonorities resonate from the bottom up. Aimard turns La cathédrale engloutie into a fluid tone poem with ample dynamic contrasts. He also accelerates the dramatic build-up beginning at measure 21, an effect not notated in the score but borne out in Debussy's own piano roll performance.

However, Aimard seems more responsive to the darker, more harmonically sophisticated sound-world of Book 2. Perhaps Aimard's expressive cool most tellingly manifests itself in the closing Feux d'artifice. His remarkable evenness and tonal control creates a "fire and ice" impression that markedly differs from the kinetic abandon of Jean-Yves Thibaudet's comparable virtuosity. The resonant yet clear sonics do full justice to Aimard's own, powerful Steinway grand

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Arc en Scènes (Salle de musique), La Chaux-de-Fonds, Sw (05/2012).


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Works Details

>Debussy, Claude : Préludes (12) for piano, Book I, L. 117
  • Performer: Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
  • Running Time: 37 min. 52 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1907-1910

>Debussy, Claude : Préludes (12) for piano, Book II, L. 123
  • Performer: Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
  • Running Time: 37 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1910-1912